The founder and head coach of the Aqsarniit Ujauttaq (Northern Lights) gymnastics club in Rankin Inlet, Lisa Kresky, left for the Canada Winter Games this past week with a lot on her mind.
Kresky is attending the games as part of the Women in Coaching program and is linked with the B.C. gymnastics team as an apprentice coach.
Following the Games, Kresky will turn all her attention on getting her competitive team from the Rankin club to represent Canada at the 2019 international World Gymnaestrada in Dornbirn, Austria, from July 7 to 13.
More than 70 countries are expected to take part in the World Gymnaestrada, with more than 20,000 participants.
Rankin’s 22 gymnasts and three coaches would be part of the 600-member Team Canada entourage at the event.
Kresky said her young gymnasts were beyond excited when they received their Team Canada uniforms this past month.
She said the Rankin athletes have been counting down the days to the World Gymnaestrada since well before this past Christmas.
“The uniforms kind of made everything feel a bit more realistic and reminded the girls that time is ticking,” said Kresky.
“We’re looking at it being just over 130 days away now, so the girls are getting even more excited, if that’s even possible.”
For all the excitement mounting – and 22 talented young gymnasts from Rankin Inlet having their hearts set on being part of Team Canada at World Gymnaestrada – one big hurdle remains and, as almost always in the North. That one big hurdle is money.
The gymnastics club’s competitive team has attended a number of premier events during the past two years to earn the right to travel to Austria and represent Canada.
Those events cost a lot to attend, as well, and as hard as the athletes and coaches have worked fundraising, they’re still $60,000 away from their final goal and the clock is, indeed, ticking.
Kresky said she, the girls, and their parents remain hopeful and optimistic that they’ll get past their final barrier. They all continue to work hard at fundraising.
She said there’s still a ways to go and nobody is even thinking about giving up.
“We have to stay confident and optimistic that we’ll raise the rest of the money.
“We’re going to find a way to raise that total remaining, so we’re working hard and keeping our eyes on the final goal.
“We had another bake sale this past weekend, we have raffles coming up, and we continue to put letters out to businesses and organizations trying to attract sponsorships and that type of thing.
“It’s really tough fundraising in Rankin Inlet right now with so many other teams and organizations also trying to fundraise – with everyone trying to do so much fundraising it’s really tapping out the resources within the community, but we just refuse to give up and I still believe we’ll get there.”